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Thursday, 9 December 1976

Mr Hodges asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(   1 ) Has his attention been drawn to a report in the Courier Mail of 14 October 1976 that the Premier of Queensland criticised the Federal Government for increasing its foreign aid commitment by 400 per cent

(2)   If so, how does Mr Bjelke-Petersen's figure compare with ( 1 ) PRESENTED BY THE Treasurer on page 14 of the Budget Speech where he said foreign aid was being increased by 14.6 percent

(3)   Can he say how Mr Bjelke-Petersen computed his figures.

Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   and (3) The Treasurer on page 14 of his Budget Speech on 17 August 1976 announced that the outlays from the Budget on overseas aid, excluding defence co-operation, would increase to $400 million in 1976-77 and that this would be an increase of 14.6 per cent over 1 975-76 expenditure. On 12 October 1976, in a statement on the Australian South Pacific Aid Program made to the South Pacific Forum in Suva I announced that the Government had 'decided to commit a total amount of $A60 million in bilateral aid to the countries of the South Pacific over the three-year period 1 976- 1 979. This represents a four-fold increase in Australian aid as compared with the preceding three years.' The Queensland Premier may have been referring to this commitment.

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